Archive for February, 2011

February 20, 2011

Sometimes I forget

This afternoon/evening, the boys are away, so it’s just A and me for dinner.  While at D&W, the cute little sushi rolls were calling to me.  A is such a great eater and will try most anything, so I asked if she was up for trying sushi and egg rolls for dinner.  As usual, she was game.  I bought the smallest “snack pack” I could find.  It had 4 each of avocado, cucumber, carrot and {imitation} crab.  Nothing too scary. 

{cute little snack pack. we'll just ignore the spicy stuff in front there}

Miss A tried the crab roll first and loved it.  She loved the avocado one, too.  Cucumber and carrot not so much.  I’m proud of her for giving it a shot–I even told her about the seaweed! 

{A gives her crab snack roll a thumb's up!}

Enter the {un}perfection… while I think little sushi rolls are super cute, and I love all the ingredients, the seaweed smell really grosses me out.  If I shove the whole thing in my mouth really quickly I’m ok, but if I linger too long or take more lady-like bite, I have to choke it down.  And sometimes I forget that.

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February 20, 2011

Grande Chemically Processed Latte, please

I *love* coffee.  That’s one of my favorite things about winter–warming up with some yummy creamy coffee.  Caramel is my absolute fave, but I’m open to other flavors, too.  A few days ago I came across a post on Deliciously Organic where Carrie posted recipes for coffee creamer withOUT using processed ingredients.  I’m not hugely concerned about that, but I’m gradually coming around to seeing the benefits of sticking with natural {and sometimes organic} foods.  We’ve switched almost exclusively to organic free-range locally farmed eggs, we’re growing our vegetable garden without chemical fertilizers, our beef comes from grass-fed locally raised cows, same with our pork.  And I just recently discovered a source for organic free-range chicken.  When I can afford it, and when it makes sense I’m going natural/organic.  So when I came across these creamer recipes {and I have to admit, I go through the creamer!!} and was reminded that most creamers are full of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, I thought I’d give it a shot.  I love homemade things as long as it’s not too tricky and these recipes looks pretty darn simple! 

Little Miss A and I stopped at the store on the way home from church today {while the Hubs and Mr. M headed to the in-laws’ for the afternoon} and I picked up the ingredients I needed to make the caramel creamer.  Good thing we did–in the last 4 hours we’ve gotten over 6″ of snow…and sleet and freezing rain is in the forecast in the next few hours.  Faaaaaannnntastic.  {sarcasm dripping}  At least I’ll be able to cozy up with my girl, some movies and a hot cup of creamy caramelly coffee goodness! 

Here it is, friends:

CARAMEL CREAMER

The caramel recipe makes twice what you need for the coffee creamer recipe. You can store the caramel in the fridge to use for another coffee creamer recipe or use it to drizzle over ice cream. Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Caramel:
3/4 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
5 tablespoons water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream {I used half & half to make it a little lighter}
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

{Not the cheapest option, but more natural and has a great rich flavor}

Put the cane sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until mixture reaches 240ºF. {I don’t have a candy thermometer, just a meat thermometer that only goes up to 200º so I heated it about a minute or so after it hit 200º} Remove from heat and whisk in cream and vanilla. Cool.

Creamer:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk {again, I used 2 cups half & half, instead of buying cream AND milk}
1/2 cup homemade caramel

Whisk together cream, milk and caramel in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture begins to steam, remove from the heat. Pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. {I didn’t have a glass bottle, so I poured it into a canning jar.  Umm…maybe I’m not that coordinated, but it made a mess when I poured it!  So I poured it back into the half & half container since it had a screw on cap.  I had a small amount that didn’t fit, so I put it into another container and sent A across the street to share it with K.N. 🙂 } 

{mason jar = cute for photo = not at all practical for pouring}

{yummmmmm...}

 For more great organic/all-natural creamer {and other} recipes, check out what Carrie has over at Deliciously Organic!

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February 19, 2011

And the winner is…

…Comment #3!  What?  You don’t want to take the 5 seconds to check and see who #3 is?  Hmm…you’re an impatient bunch aren’t you?  I mean, in the time it’s taking you to read what I’m writing right now, you could’ve checked to see if YOU are the winner. 

Hee hee 🙂  Sorry…I’ll get to it right now.  The winner is Jennifer Hess!  Here’s the Random.org screen shot:

{comment #3 is the winner!}

Congratulations, Jen!  Once I get your info, I’ll send it out to  you.  Enjoy! ❤

I’ve got another fun giveaway in the works…for another time.  For now I’ve got to hunker down for the winter storm they’re forecasting.  So much for Spring making an early appearance 😦

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February 16, 2011

A Spring-is-coming Giveaway!

Ok, maybe it’s wishful thinking, but with the near 50-degree  temps today, Punxsutawney Phil and I might not be that far off!  To continue getting us all in the SPRING of things, I’m having a little giveaway.  Same rules apply as usual:

{HOW TO ENTER}
Leave a comment here on this blog post {facebook comments won’t count–sorry!}.  For extra entries, share this blog post on facebook, Twitter or your blog and leave me a seperate comment for each one {one comment to enter straight up, another one if you share on FB, another if you share on Twitter, and another one if you share on your blog–please provide a link to your blog = 4 total possible entries}. 

{DEADLINE}
This contest will close Friday, February 18 at midnight EST.

{WINNER}
The winner will be chosen using random.org and will receive this lovely necklace right here 🙂

{all kinds of springy colors}

{close-up of the colorful neck garden. Neck garden?? Whatever...}

{antique silver, pewtery colored adjustable chain}

{modeled by me! I have to admit, I'm wearing it around and I MUST take it off soon or I won't want to give it away!}

Want it?  Ready…Set…ENTER!!!!

February 15, 2011

A little teaser {contest}

I’m sick and tired of winter!  So, what else to do to pass the time than have another contest??  I’m thinking it’ll get you in the mood for spring {as if you weren’t already, right?} with some fun colors.  What do you think?  Should I do it??  I can’t guarantee it’ll go up tonight, but definitely by tomorrow…  I’ve already decided what to give away, but if you could choose, what would you want me to give away?

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February 15, 2011

A different kind of love affair…

I have something to get off my chest.  I have mixed feelings about this, but the heart wants what the heart wants.  Well {whisper} I’m cheating on my ol’ faithful! {gasp!}  While shopping at Michael’s yesterday I fell in love.  I was powerless to stop the feelings that overcame me.  I don’t think The Hubs will be all too thrilled with me, but I just couldn’t help it.  I had to do it.  There’s nothing necessarily wrong with my old one, but the new one is just so much more exciting, ya know?

I just HAD to buy this a-DOR-able little glue gun!

{my new love}

Ain’t it cute?!?!

If you recall, I married into my other glue gun, but at just $4.99 I just couldn’t leave this one at the store 🙂

February 15, 2011

Love is in the air!

The Hubs is one of those who thinks Valentine’s Day is a lame Hallmark holiday, but he “celebrates” it to appease me {what a guy}.  This year {in the spirit of lowering my expectations}, I decided to try a few things with the kids to make it a day of celebrating love in a FUN way!  I think we all had a good time, it was special, and it didn’t cost much at all.

Miss A and I started our celebration a little early on Sunday afternoon with custom heart-felt manicures.  A wanted red, pink AND fuchsia {why not?}, so we alternated the colors, then topped them off with hearts drawn on with a nail art pen.  I painted my nails fuchsia and did 1 heart on my thumb 🙂

{I ❤ this manicure}

 Monday morning I had a special breakfast for the kids: Jell-O jigglers! {I know, I don’t usually share the kids’ names, but I wanted to show the Jell-O 🙂 }

Of course, in my true {un}perfect impulsive way, I decided to make the jigglers the night before and had to use what I had on hand.  Jigglers take 4 boxes.  I had 2 Grape, 1 sugar-free Strawberry and 1 sugar-free Raspberry.  Made for an interesting flavor…

{darn his long name and our little plates!}

{He said, "Yum! I wuv Jeww-O! Hey, how did the Jeww-O know my name??"}

I love making treat bags for the kids’ holiday parties–this one was no exception.  And because my kids LOVE them, I slaved and included some pretty cute cake pops.

{another pic because they're just so cute!}

{my little heart breaker}

{A's teacher painted hearts on the kids' faces--so cute!}

Regrettably, I didn’t get a pic with The Hubs, but honestly, neither of us was looking too hot that morning.  He did, however give me a nice card and a certificate for a mani/pedi/massage.  Ahhh…can’t wait!    I, being equally sweet, gave him this:

{card by upupcreative.com}

That evening I spent a romantic evening with some of my girls, watching the Bachelor.  I made these bad boys especially for them! 

{chocolate cake pops made with chocolate frosting and chocolate candy coating--for my chocolate loving Valentines!}

{C.Y., J.J., K.N.}

February 10, 2011

Fabric flower headbands

Here are the fabric flower items I mentioned here the other day.  You know, the ones I couldn’t post yet because they were en route to a reader as a surprise 🙂  They have made it safe and sound, so now I can share them with you!

{cute little headbands for two cute little girls}

{this purplish blue and brown one is for a sweet little redhead}

{and this black and pink one is for a brunette cutie}

Happy Valentine’s Day, K & M!

February 9, 2011

Oh happy day!

Today was my birthday and it was such a fun one!  In the past I’ve had super high expectations for this once-a-year celebration.  You know what happens when you have really high expectations?  They almost never get met, then you’re left with disappointment.  Not fun.  This year I collaborated a bunch with God to lower my expectations and truly appreciate every little thing that came my way.  And you know what?  It was an incredible birthday!  Seriously, the best.  I started out last night enjoying some trash TV {The Bachelor} with my girlfriends.  We had wine, fun and a lot of laughs.  I even got an early gift of…comfort food!  My girl C.Y. brought me a box of Wheat Thins {HA!} and another fave–a Starbucks gift card.  Yum.  I just love Monday nights with the girls.  We “partied” until it was officially my birthday, then we went home to crash.

{with my friend/neighbor J.J.--showing off my rosette necklace}

This morning I got to sleep in a bit, then went downstairs to gifts from my fam.  Monkey A was more than happy to give me her sweet card {one that plays a song…which will inevitably become HER card to listen to over and over} that included a gift card to one of my favorite cheap/trendy stores: Charlotte Russe 🙂  The Hubs had made me a card with a poem he had written about our last year {love his poems!} and another CR gift card.  Yes!  A informed me {stage whisper} that M’s card contained a 3rd CR gift card.  WOOHOO!  However, M was insistent that I not open his card until I was eating birthday cake.  That’s what you’re supposed to do; that’s what he did.  🙂 

After breakfast we got in the car and headed west a bit {but not before using part of my Starbucks card, of course} to join my mom, my friend A.M. and her kids for our “usual”.  Our “usual” is most parents’ nightmare.  But we love it: Chuck E. Cheese’s!  Honestly, where else can you go and, for under $25, enjoy lunch and 3-4 hours of adult conversation while your kids run around FULLY entertained?  Ok, maybe there are a few other places, but we seriously love our regular CEC “dates”.  We have found that Tuesday mornings are usually pretty dead around there.  And we’ve been there so many times over the last 2 years that the manages know us by name.  They now help us find the best coupon codes, sneak our kids extra tokens and tickets {M calls one manager “Sneaky Tony”}, bring special treats for them…it’s our own personal kid-friendly Cheers!  And ok, I have to admit that A.M. and I have a favorite game we like to play as well 😉  No cake was consumed {I’m trying to actually complement my working out by sort of watching what I eat}, but M agreed to let me open my card {another musical one, of course} over my birthday pizza {I said “sort of” watching what I eat…}, especially since I was opening my gifts from A.M. 🙂

{A.W. and A.M. at C.E.C.}

After a fun and full day at CEC, the kids and I headed back home just in time to pick up the house a bit before the babysitters came over.  Warning: you’re about to be totally jealous.  Our two neighbor girls {ages 12 and 14}, who our kids adore, babysit FOR POINTS!  Yep, for about half the year they don’t accept money for babysitting.  Their church has a point program where the kids earn points by doing things like shoveling {yes, we’ve been on the receiving end of that one too!}, babysitting, and other forms of helping.  If the kids earn a certain number of points, the church will pay their way to summer camp in full.  It’s awesome!  So…after our super-sitters arrived, another friend dropped over to bring me yet another of my comfort food staples: Diet Dr. Pepper!  Not only that, but a new tube of lip gloss.  I’m a little more than slightly obsessed with lip gloss and I LOVE trying new stuff.  Perfect little birthday surprises!  The Hubs and I headed to the mall to do a little bit of shopping before our dinner reservation.  Once at the restaurant, we ran into not one, not two but THREE sets of friends!  Two sets were celebrating birthdays today as well.  The Hubs and I enjoyed a delicious dinner, I had some incredible wine and a cute little complimentary dessert.  And even better–we used our GROUPON {if you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to!  Click here}, so it was half price!  Oh, how I love saving money 🙂

{The Hubs and me}

{random run-in with J.S. and K.S.}

{fun birthday treat}

{isn't it cute??}

Now here I sit, so grateful, a heart full of love and toasty warm in my University of Michigan Snuggie… Amazing how when we lower our expectations, they’re almost always exceeded!  As my mom says, We need to raise our expectations of God and lower our expectations of people. People will let you down, but God never will.  Right on, Mama; right on…

February 7, 2011

Make It Monday: Felt and Fabric Flower Rosettes

Here they are, folks!  The tutorials for felt rosettes and fabric rosettes.  They’re very, very similar, but I’ll go through them each, step-by-step.

FELT FLOWERS

Materials:
1.5″ x 11″ strip of felt {this doesn’t need to be exact}
Glue gun/glue sticks or needle/thread
Embellishment for center {bead, rhinestone, pearl, button, etc.}

1} Dog-ear the corner of one end of the felt and secure with a dot of hot glue
2} Fold long end down over the dog-eared corner
3} Twist strip and fold over.  Continue this step to form a closed circle
4} Continue twisting and folding over, making sure to make the second larger circle behind the first circle
5} Glue the end to the back of the rosette to secure
6} Glue “petals” in several spots to secure the rosette, ensuring it doesn’t unravel
7} Glue your embellishment to the center of your rosette
8} Use your creativity and attach your sweet little rosette to whatever you come up with!  Hair clip, headband, shirt, handbag, pillow…whatever you’d like

{I start with a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of felt - $0.29 at Michael's}

{cut about a 1.5" piece the long way on the felt}

{dog-ear the corner}

{fold the long end over the dog-earred corner}

{twist and fold}

{twist and fold until you have a small closed circle--no hole in the center}

{when starting the second bigger circle, tuck behind the first circle}

{almost finished!}

{embellish!}

{or like this. I have a stash of gorgeous vintage buttons that I just can't wait to use}

{this one's more understated}

{last one, I promise!}

 FABRIC ROSETTE

Materials:
Fabric {I love to use fat quarters}
Glue gun/glue sticks or thread/needle
Embellishments {same as above}

1} Cut or rip {ripped gives a more “shabby” look} a 1″ +/- strip of fabric – the longer the strip, the bigger the flower
2} tie a knot at the end of the strip
3} Fold the end over and glue to the knot
4} Twist the strip and wind it around the knot, securing every so often with glue
5} Continue to twist and wind until you have about an inch of a tail left.  Glue the tail to the back side of the rosette to provide stability to the rosette
6} Finish off your rosette with the embellishment of your choice
7} Finally, add your rosette to whatever you want, just like with the felt flowers.  These little cuties are so versatile! 
*} If your strip isn’t as long as you’d like it, you can either glue or tie two strips together.  Instant long strip!

{start with a cut}

{let it rip!}

{tie it up}

{fold and glue}

{twist, wind and glue}

{now we're getting somewhere}

{cute little tail}

{glue it around back}

{add an embelly and you're done!}

I’m loving these sweet little rosettes and I’m having fun thinking of ways to use them.  How do you think YOU’LL use them??

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